Into the Horn

5 Star Route

This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.

If you hear the Call of the Wild whispering your name, this is your route. A good balance of adventure, big views, beautiful red ponderosas and a 50/50 mix of hard pack gravel and primitive forest service roads in the Horn of the Metolius area. Few rides take you to such a remote area.

Adventure / Gravel Route

Loop: 43 miles / 3500 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 50% primitive Forest Service roads, 50% hard packed gravel
eBike Friendly:
– Location: ~Sisters, OR
– Published: October 2018 (updated May 2021)

Terrain & Technical Riding Difficulty[what this means]


Due to (a) the remote location of the ride (i.e. no cell phone coverage), (b) the primitive Forest Service roads with some technical features and (c) the maze of roads in the area requiring excellent navigation skills.

When we like to ride this …

This route rides great (!) in the spring/early summer when the “washboard” is at a minimum, the peaks are snow-capped, and the flowers are in bloom. The fall colors can also be outstanding. If possible, do the ride midweek and not on a summer holiday weekend. Summer can be hot and dusty and with some vehicles on the hard packed gravel.

The Start

At the end of the paved section of NF-11, ~ 10.5 miles north of Highway 20.
Lat / Long: 44.469301, -121.556885


Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
Blue = single track

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.

Ride Details

Most of the ride is a series of rollers. Nothing too crazy steep, but it just keeps challenging you. The first half of the ride is on smaller roads … a few rocky, some shale, and a smattering of baby heads. Now just stop your windging because none of them last that long … just pause and enjoy the beauty.

The second half of the ride is on wide, hard-packed gravel roads. We hit some washboard but nothing that you can’t sneak around if you are paying attention.

Food & Water


Ride Notes

40 mm tires or larger or possibly a hard tail mountain bike. Also, ride the route in the direction as mapped, the opposite way could be brutal.

Ride Options

A much shorter route can be had by driving to mile marker 30.2 where NF-11 intersects the route. Use Prairie Farm road as a connector between miles 34 and 8. This gives a route length of ~ 24 miles.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

Gravel Girl / Team Dirty Freehub

She loves a good day of gravel, like most people like a good book. She’s always amused by the outdoors and the wild adventures. Gravel Girl is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

Captain O / Team Dirty Freehub

He should have “Never Stop Exploring” tattooed on his chest! He loves adventures on bikes and is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.


Revision History

  • Sept 2021 put into new route format (2 column)
  • October 2018 / Original Post as a 5 Star route.

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The Ride

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